Arguments for the Existence of God
This study was written to enlighten genuine seekers, strengthen the faith of those who believe, enrich the knowledge of the God we serve, and provide ammunition to soldiers of the cross. In the other articles in this series we discussed Opposing Views to the Existence of God and The Existence of God Assumed in Scripture. In this part of the series we will discuss arguments for the existence of God.
The universe must inevitably have had a beginning (Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 11:3, Romans 1:20). It is the effect and therefore must have a cause. How did it all begin if there was no God to create it all? No matter what you believe concerning creation, you have to exercise an element of faith. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
It takes a lot less faith to believe there is an eternal God who created all things than to believe everything started from nothing. Even a “big bang” had to originate from something. There had to be something there first to cause it. Where did it all come from? The cause is God and the effect is the world or universe in which we live. Thomas Aquinas put it like this, “He is the first cause, Himself uncaused.” God is the first cause, who of His own volition caused everything else, yet the cause of God’s existence lies within Himself.
A young man who had recently graduated from college approached an elderly lady sitting on her porch. The elderly lady was not very educated but had always relied on her common sense. After exchanging pleasantries, the young man said to her, “After studying mathematics, science and philosophy, I am convinced there is no God and that it is but an empty word.” The elderly lady paused for a few seconds then said, “May I ask you a question then?” The young man, puffed up in pride (thinking he could impart his wisdom to her), said, “Absolutely.”
This simple lady then picked up an egg and asked him, “Where did this egg come from?” He replied, “A chicken.” She asked, “Where did the chicken come from?” “An egg,” he said. “Which came first,” she asked? “The chicken,” said the young man. The lady proceeded, “Where did the first chicken come from from which all subsequent chickens and eggs came?” The young man, somewhat frustrated asked, “What’s your point?” She answered him, “You can’t explain the existence of a chicken or an egg without God and you expect me to believe you can explain the existence of the universe without Him?”
Design and beauty imply there was a designer (Psalms 139:6). Our world is indisputably beautiful and incredible. The complexities that caused it and all that is in it to operate and function the way it does is simply mind boggling. As you look at it, you can’t help but think there must have been a creator who understood it and designed it for the purpose which it fulfills.
Let’s consider a watch. To suggest it had no designer is an insult to intelligence and reason. It had a maker, who understood its construction and designed it for the purpose of telling time. The universe, much more complex, must have had a maker, who understood its construction and wisely designed it for the purpose it fulfills.
Let’s compare it to an author, who takes a car load of printers type and a shovel, throws the type into the air and as they fall to the ground they resolve into a book. Let’s say there was an explosion at the Campbell’s Soup factory (the division that makes alphabet soup) and out pops a copy of Webster’s Dictionary.
The most pronounced unbeliever would say nonsense to both of these examples. Atheistic theories that attempt to leave God out of the equation are just as ridiculous, if not more so.
God has placed within man a moral nature. Paul wrote, “For when the gentiles who do not have the law do instinctively the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves” (Romans 2:14). Man, even in his fallen and corrupt state, has had placed within him a moral law of right and wrong.
Much of what causes man’s psychological problems is guilt. Down deep within him, he knows the difference between right and wrong, even if he is unable to live up to it. Butler said, “If conscience had the power to enforce what it commands it would revolutionize the world.” Kant, the great German philosopher said, “Two things fill my soul with awe, the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me” (“Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible,” by Myer Pearlman, page 42, paragraph 1).
There is also man’s search for something beyond and outside of himself. Man has always had the need for worship. Even in the godless society in which we live recovery groups insist addicts have a “higher power.” They do this because even godless mankind realizes man’s need to worship and rely on something greater than himself. Man has a hole inside his soul that he seeks to fill. The soul would not thirst for what doesn’t exist.
Sadly, man seems to look in all the wrongs places. Man will always seek to fill this void with something. He often seeks to fill the hole within his soul with external things such as sexual promiscuity, success, drugs, alcohol and even at times morality, religion and his own goodness, but God is the only one who can fill the void within us (Isaiah 12:3; 55:1; John 7:37-39; Matthew 5:3-5; Psalms 42:1-2).
History can actually be defined as “His story.” It is God’s story of all He has done (Psalms 75:7, Daniel 2:21, Daniel 5:21, Romans 13:1). It’s interesting that national decline and decay has always followed disobedience (sin). As nations become more and more corrupt, their glory seems to dissipate if not eventually collapse all together. We had better be careful as a nation. We are treading on dangerous ground. God’s overruling providence is displayed throughout history.
“God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another” (Psalm 75:7). “He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21). Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (634 – 562 BC), was lifted up in pride and therefore rejected as king. It was said of him that, “He was driven from the sons of men, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses” (Daniel 5:21). “There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1).
Humans are incurably religious. We see this in Acts 17 as well as throughout scripture and history. Man has always sought to worship something or someone. This is because people were created to have fellowship with God, and therefore, long for Him within their heart. The problem is we tend to look in all the wrong places. Today is no different, except we tend to lean toward self worship. This longing and need for worship testifies loudly to the God who is there and created us for the purpose of worship. Human beings don’t long for what doesn’t exist, but for what does.
Worship is the purpose for which we were created. In our first glimpse of the heavenly scene, there are twenty-four elders (representing Old and New Testament saints) worshiping before the throne saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). We were created for worship, to bring pleasure to God and to have fellowship with Him. This was displayed in the lives of Adam and Eve until sin enter the picture (Genesis 1-3). Jesus is the only solution to this problem (1 Peter 3:18)!
The Bible says God, “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10). The Bible is a book of prophecy. Throughout the Old Testament there are predictions for the future, which have come to pass. We are seeing things today that the Word of God spoke of thousands of years ago. It would have been impossible for the authors of the Bible to imagine or make up such things.
Most prophecy is so improbable in the natural that only God’s hand in it could bring them to pass. For instance, Israel’s dispersion. They were given the promise land and because of their disobedience they were scattered to the nations. From that time, there was no national land for the Jews until 1948 when they were miraculously given their land back and began returning to Israel. (This also reveals the soon return of Christ: Matthew 24:32-33.) How could this have taken place outside of divine intervention.
For example, Jesus fulfilled over three hundred prophecies at His first coming. Think of it, three hundred. That would have been utterly impossible unless there was an omniscient God who was foretelling history in advance. There were thirty some prophecies fulfilled concerning Jesus in one twenty four hour period surrounding His death.
Using the science of probability, Peter Stoner studied just eight of the prophecies surrounding Jesus’ death. The chance that any man who might have lived to this present time could have fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. That would be 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.
To illustrate, he said, you could fill the entire state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep, place a mark on just one of them, and stir them thoroughly, then blindfold a man and have him walk as far as and wherever he wanted and reach down at random and pick up just one silver dollar. The chance that the one he picked up would be the one that was marked would be the same chance of Jesus fulfilling those eight prophecies. Jesus fulfilled over three hundred. Prophetic fulfillment is an overwhelming proof or argument for the existence of God.
Stoner concluded, “The fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in ten to the seventeenth power of being absolute” (Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell, page 167, paragraph 2). The argument from prophetic fulfillment speaks clearly to the existence of God.
The Power of God to Change Lives
The Bible testifies to the power of God to change lives. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are come new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is full of examples of how God has turned people’s lives around for the good. History also testifies to this, as well as present times. Charles Bradlaugh, at one time one of England’s most outstanding atheist, challenged a minister to a debate.
The minister said to Bradlaugh, “A debate won’t change anyone’s opinion, so I propose that I bring concrete evidence of Christianity, in the form of those whose lives have been redeemed from sin and shame by its influence, and you by atheism. I will bring one hundred. If you can, bring one hundred also. If you can not bring one hundred then bring fifty. If you can not bring fifty then bring twenty. If you can not bring twenty, Mr. Bradlaugh, then I will be satisfied if you can bring just one person whose life has been redeemed from sin and shame by the influence of atheism.” Mr. Bradlaugh withdrew his challenge.
The power of God to change lives is one of the greatest arguments there is for God’s existence.